A pair of blue-gloved hands handling test tubes in a lab

Award-winning undergraduate research at UWM

UWM’s world-class research endeavors are open to students from the start of their undergraduate experience. More than 1,000 UWM undergrads are involved in research projects each year, and hundreds of them receive funding through grants and awards. It’s why UWM was one of only two national recipients of the 2018 Campus-Wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments. Given by the Council on Undergraduate Research, it recognizes the quality and depth of undergrad research opportunities. Here are just some examples of what UWM undergrads are exploring.

UWM student Nik Prusinski looking into a telescope

Nikolaus Prusinski, Senior

Nik Prusinski’s many childhood visits to UWM’s Manfred Olson Planetarium fed his desire to become an astrophysicist. As a UWM student, he researches star formation and galactic outflows in the early universe under the guidance of Dawn Erb, associate professor of physics. Using data from the Hubble and Keck telescopes, Prusinski observes outflowing gas to better understand the processes influencing star formation. “I enjoy sharing the beauty and mystery of the cosmos,” says Prusinski, who is now lead stargazer at the planetarium he frequented. He is on track to graduate at the age of 19. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

UWM student Bailey Flannery holding an open book

Bailey Flannery, Senior

It started when Bailey Flannery took a course about medieval storytelling taught by Honors College faculty member Jacqueline Stuhmiller. “It captured my interest, my imagination,” says Flannery, and so did the research opportunities in the humanities. Flannery has explored how literature treats women and their bodies as monstrous. She’s working with Stuhmiller as a research assistant on a volume of essays titled “Animal Husbandry: Bestiality in Medieval Culture.” (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

UWM student Giorgio Sarro in front of storm projection

Giorgio Sarro, Senior

Tropical storms and hurricanes usually form and strengthen in the tropics, but sometimes, they gain energy from atmospheric conditions while moving northward toward land. Giorgio Sarro, a senior in atmospheric science, is studying this “extratropical transition,” which can create devastating storms, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “It can cause more damage,” Sarro says, “because the storm becomes bigger, waves can build more and there can be more precipitation.” Sarro is researching these understudied storms with Clark Evans, associate professor of mathematical sciences and atmospheric science program chair. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

UWM undergrad researchers Maixee Yang in a lab

Maixee Yang, Senior

Maixee Yang is helping Shama Mirza, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, test a drug that could potentially treat brain cancer. “We’re trying to see the drug movement inside the body,” Yang says, “and how long it takes to be in full effect.” Yang’s focus is analytical chemistry, which studies the chemical structure and nature of substances, and this basic research could provide a foundation for future drug development. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

UWM undergrad researcher Isaac Ngui with omnidirectional robot

Isaac Ngui, Senior

Isaac Ngui has loved space since he was young. Now, he relishes the potential robots hold in space research. “My dream goal would be to use robotics to explore the universe,” Ngui says. “Space is dangerous, but robots aren’t going to worry about that.” Working with Mohammad “Habib” Rahman, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, Ngui is researching how to coordinate the actions of as many as three robots with mechanical arms capable of carrying objects. (UWM Photo/Mikaila Dusenberry)

UWM undergrad researcher Bella Biwer holding interactive neighborhood map

Bella Biwer, Senior

Bella Biwer has researched Milwaukee’s neighborhoods throughout her time at UWM. “I was open to the whole city very quickly instead of just the neighborhood around the campus,” she says. The senior helped spark a series of community-led Jane’s Walks, named for pioneering urban activist Jane Jacobs, in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood. She also developed an interactive map that documents residents’ views of that neighborhood. She works with Arijit Sen, associate professor of architecture and urban studies, and the research will be presented at a spring 2020 national conference. (UWM Photo Illustration/Elora Hennessey)

UWM undergrad researcher Ruben Prado in UWM Union

Ruben Prado, Senior

Army veteran Ruben Prado is investigating how growing up in a single-parent home influences a person’s work, education and career choices. It’s work inspired by his mother, who raised him as a single parent. “I’ve always heard there were stigmas surrounding single parenthood,” Prado says, “but I only saw it as motivation to be the best I could be.” Prado’s research involves interviewing people who were raised by single parents, and he works with Nadya Fouad, distinguished professor and Mary and Ted Kellner endowed chair of educational psychology. (UWM Photo Illustration/Elora Hennessey)